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Full text of "Man In The Modern World"


trends of the revolution and that country's efficiency in the war, is a
solemn warning to those who persist in proclaiming that the war is no
time for social experiments. On the contrary, the war itself calls for
the most drastic social experimentation., so drastic as to merit the term
revolutionary. The only question at issue is the form which the social
experiment is to take.

This brings us to the most interesting step in the argument, for it is
here that alternatives present themselves and that the outcome may be
determined by our conscious choice and del iberatc effort. The revolu-
tion itself is inescapable. Even if we struggle against it we merely
make the inevitable process longer, more painful, perhaps more
bloody. But its form and character arc not: it can be achieved in
diflcrent ways, of which the alternative extremes may be described as
the democratic way and the totalitarian way.
So our fifth point concerns the desirability and the efficiency of the
two alternatives. We in the democracies know the tmdesirability of
the totalitarian way. It is the way offeree and domination. Inside
the nation, it is employed to secure power For a small gang. It oper-
ates by means of armed force, secret police, concentration (tamps, the
building up of irrational mass enthusiasm, the supnression of freedom
of discussion, thought, and inquiry, and the persecution of contrary
opinion and of scapegoat minorities. It demands disciplined uni-
formity and regimentation. Internationally, it imposes the domina-
tion of a chosen people or a master race, who will shoulder the burden
of directing the international organization required; in return, other
peoples are expected to acquiesce in remaining at a lower level of
development and prosperity. In both cases, power is the primary
aim, force is the primary method, and domination of the less powerful
by the more powerful is the primary object.
The totalitarian method of achieving the revolution may be un-
desirable, but it is certainly capable of producing extreme efficiency,
as the enemies of Nazi Germany have found to their cost. However,
there is every reason to believe that this advantage is not lasting,
and that the method is essentially a self-defeating one. It is self-de-
feating just because it holds its power by sheer force and can maintain
itself only by constantly extending that power. But the more it ex-
tends its power the more resistance it generates both from the inside
and from the outside. The question is thus not whether it will fail in
the long run, but how long that run will be, and how much of civilisa-
tion it will destroy in the process.